It’s been seven years since Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows! Or it was on July 21st. I’m not sure I’d celebrate “seven years since” for anything else, but with Harry Potter, seven years seems particularly significant.
I’ve rarely written about Harry Potter here, in part because it feels somewhat untouchable. I’m reluctant to poke and analyse something that has meant so much to me pretty much as long as I can remember. I read my first Harry Potter book when I was 8, and remember desperately waiting for Prisoner of Azkaban to be released. The final book came out in the summer before I started college, and the final movie came out the year that I graduated college. Harry Potter provided the framework for so much of my life.
But articles like this have me reflecting not just on the books, but on the fandom around them when they were still being released. The crazy theories, the intense shipping, the “Big Name Fans”… and the fan responses to certain characters. Hermione Granger was, of course, a massive fan favorite, and perhaps more of a flawed character than we gave her credit for (I at least never noticed how ruthless she is). Lots of the shades-of-grey-at-best male characters, like Draco Malfoy and Snape, received endless adoration. But most other female characters received a less excited welcome. Lavender Brown was reviled for being shallow, Cho Chang was too emotional, Fleur Delacour was ridiculous and annoying, and Ginny was a bitch, a slut and/or a Mary Sue, depending on the critic.
The series is generally light on female characters, with the Weasley family ratio somewhat representative of the number of male vs female characters as teachers, in positions of power, and in the background at Hogwarts (were Hermione, Lavender and Parvati the only Gryffindor girls in Harry’s year? Was Pansy Parkinson the only Slytherin girl? Where were the others?). But the response to the female characters that did exist was often vitriolic at best. And the more I think about these secondary characters, the more I want to look into them and people’s reactions to them. I’ve been feeling the urge to reread Harry Potter for a while now, and the seventh anniversary of Deathly Hallows seems like the perfect time.
So keep your eyes peeled for more Harry Potter content on here in the near future. Character studies, a look at fan culture, and probably some general analysis and 11-year-long denial that Sirius really died. Because if there’s one thing that hasn’t changed over the past seven years, it’s that there’s nothing I like talking about more than Harry Potter.